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Bangladesh

One of the world’s most densely populated countries, Bangladesh has 47 million people living in poverty.

Formerly East Pakistan, it is one of the world’s youngest countries, having only come into existence in 1971, when Pakistan’s two sides split after a bitter war which drew in neighbouring India.

As an ICS volunteer in Bangladesh, you will work to make sure young people are improving their quality of life. You could be teaching them how to deliver courses, providing enterprise training, as well as making sure they are more involved in decision making in local government.

VSO ICS volunteers work with members of Santoshpur Youth Club like Sonali
© Diana Patient / VSO
VSO ICS volunteers work with members of Santoshpur Youth Club like Sonali

Young people aged 18-35 make up a third of Bangladesh’s population of 160 million. Engaging these young people in decisions that affect their lives is a key part of the work of ICS.

Volunteers, help to make sure young people are engaged with local governance so employment can be created and they become more aware of their sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR).

Volunteers may also support projects that tackle issues around gender, as well as education. ICS volunteers hold workshops on the importance of education and the dangers of early marriage, working with young people, children and families to show the benefits of getting a good education.

Bangladeshi and UK VSO ICS volunteers Arnika Ferdous Bristi and Juliet Cramb-Low
© ICS / VSO / Qamruzzaman
Bangladeshi and UK VSO ICS volunteers Arnika Ferdous Bristi and Juliet Cramb-Low

Living in Bangladesh

There are multiple project locations in Bangladesh, including Birishiri, Rangrapara, Chitolmari, Batiaghata, Parbotipur and Edilpur. VSO’s placements in Bangladesh see volunteers live with host families, usually with one other volunteer.

As with other placements, volunteers will be expected to eat like a local. Due to the coastal nature of Bangladesh’s geography, fish makes up a big part of their diet, accompanying rice, meat, lentils and vegetables. Dishes range from sweet and mild to hot and spicy.

And outside of ICS, volunteers make a difference in their own ways. From working with local church youth groups to maintaining vegetable gardens, creating youth clubs and carrying out assessments to see what communities need, as an ICS volunteer you’ll be busy.

VSO ICS Team Leader Justine Kibler wasn't expecting her three months in Khulna to be such a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. Here's her snapshot of life on placement. © www.lostinthemidlands.com
Your ICS placement is about more than what you do while you're overseas.

Also see:

Participants in a rally against human trafficking organised by Restless Development ICS volunteers
© Suraj Ratna Shakya / Restless Development

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